Refractometer and Hydrometer kit available for brewers

The new OPTi Digital Handheld Refractometer and Hydrometer Brew Kit has just launched and is available to purchase now at an introductory price of £299!

Perfect for beer and cider brewers as well as winemakers, this kit is a specially selected bundle of an OPTi Digital Handheld Refractometer and a hydrometer for the determination of alcohol by volume (ABV) in beer, wine and cider. This is not only useful as an alcohol content guide for breweries, but for those working within trading standards as an audit tool. Refractometers are even mentioned as general provisions for cider and wine makers, by HM Revenue and Customs in the UK.


Feature packed refractometer

But wait, that’s not all! Because this is an OPTi refractometer you get even more. Yes, this OPTi is set for Wort and Zeiss measurement but it also measures in °Brix for extra flexibility. All you need to do is select which scale you require between A, B and C. This handy option means you only need one accurate, pocket-sized instrument to measure original gravity, monitor fermentation in process and fruit ripeness. The ability to measure fruit ripeness is great for cider makers. The Brix scale offers ripeness monitoring in the field so that apples & pears are picked at the optimum sugar level ready for fermenting.

Why choose a digital refractometer for beer or wine?

Many brewers and winemakers may have seen or used an optical refractometer in the past. These simple tools can be effective but can sometimes suffer from an ambiguity when it comes to reading results. The OPTi Digital Handheld Refractometer is far more accurate than an equivalent-scale optical refractometer as it eliminates difficult to read results at the lower end of the scale, especially cheaply made Brix refractometers that have a compressed scale near water, just where the finished beer will read.

With a digital reading your accuracy can be assured, saving you time, effort and money in terms of wasted or spoiled product. Pick the right time to harvest with the accuracy of OPTi, from Bellingham + Stanley. An instrument designed and manufactured by the minds behind precision laboratory equipment including RFM Refractometers, ADP Polarimeters and DSG Series Density Meters. In fact, Bellingham + Stanley is often cited to be the inventor of handheld refractometry. Their first product dating back to 1936 when they introduced the first pocket-sized refractometer with a brix scale for measurement in sugar cane fields.

Traceability of results

Unlike many new calculators that have come to the market in recent years, the calculator we rely on can be traced back to the UK’s Customs Authority. Many years ago, refractometer specialists Bellingham + Stanley worked with the UK Customs Authority (the then HMRC) to develop an accurate portable instrument designed for measuring alcohol content at the dock side of commercial ports. The idea behind this was to prevent a rise in smuggling!
Duty payment was required on wine and spirits being brought into the country, with duty for spirits, such as whisky, being significantly higher than that of a bottle of wine. Trying to capitalise on this, smugglers would disguise spirits by labelling them as wine and therefore saving money per shipment on duty! With the use of a handheld refractometer Customs officials were able to scientifically determine the content of individual bottles.

Bellingham + Stanley recognised the need for a linear scale so that optical readings weren’t influenced by the non-linear scales found in commonly available Brix refractometers. The Zeiss scale was adopted due to its heritage and ease of use. By using an evenly spaced scale, readings obtained from what was then called the “Pocket Refractometer” were of the same precision no matter where on the scale the operator would take the reading. The Zeiss scale is still available for use today in the form of our Eclipse professional range refractometer for those brewers and cider makers wishing to use a more traditional optical instrument.

So why are you offering the Brix scale if the Zeiss is better?
Whilst many people prefer the ease of use of the Zeiss scale, there are still those that like to use the Brix scale. Harnessing the power of the OPTi Digital Handheld Refractometer we are able to include the Brix scale as standard in the OPTi Brew Kit so that other web-based calculators for, say, “original gravity” may be used.

Measuring Wort with a refractometer

Brewers use this model to measure the concentration of wort (beer) contained within the mash tun prior to fermentation. Typically, a hydrometer is used for density measured in Specific Gravity (SG) but refractometers are often preferred as they are easier to use than glass hydrometers – especially in wet and cold environments! The SG scale is based on pure sucrose and, as beer recipes are likely to have been formulated using a hydrometer, it may be necessary to apply a small offset for each beer type to negate the effects of other ingredients in the Wort that are not pure sugar.

A unique hydrometer for beer and cider makers

Our hydrometer is specially graduated so that it covers the specific gravity range needed by brewers and cider makers to calculate alcohol using the RI-SG method. This means you only need one hydrometer to measure alcohol rather than trying to pick the right one from a selection in your brewery.

The OPTi Digital Handheld Refractometer and Hydrometer Brew Kit includes:

1x OPTi Digital Handheld Refractometer (Wort/Brix/Zeiss)
1 x Graduated Hydrometer
1 x Hydrometer Jar
Instruction manual with tables + access details for the Bellingham + Stanley online calculators should you need them.

Get your Brew Kit today by clicking the button below or by visiting our Beer & Wine collection now.